Friday, September 11, 2009

Two years

Oliver is two years old today.

Happy Birthday - it's such a sweet and simple sentiment. One that most people can take for granted. I will say the words, and accept them from others with a smile, for the love and good thoughts they wish to convey. But for us, today, the words ring hollow. I will smile, we will give gifts, take pictures, and even have a cake. But I cannot forget that it is the anniversary of a terrible day. It is not a day my heart can celebrate. I thought it might be a little easier to bear this year, but it is not.

It has been a very long hard year, leaving many of our hopes and aspirations for Oliver's development unfulfilled. Among other things, Oliver still cannot roll over, sit, eat or use his arms and hands to play with toys. He cannot hug me, hold my hand or say "mama". He still vomits every day (and sometimes at night), and Shami and I get very, very little sleep. Grief still tears my heart apart each and every day. And the work and exhaustion of caring for Oliver is getting harder and harder as he grows into a boy.

But along with the unrelenting stress and sadness, this past year has brought us many positive changes, accomplishments and even moments of joy. We moved back to Ithaca, and Oliver has adapted to a new country, new people, and a rigorous schedule of therapy sessions. Oliver works very hard at everything, and he has made progress. In the right mood he'll take a spoon with a drop of water on it. Although he cannot roll all the way over, he can roll onto his side, especially if you tell him you'll scratch his back if he does! He holds his head up a little better, and much to our surprise he enjoys "walking" in a borrowed gait trainer. Although he cannot talk, he understands much of what we say, and he is learning to shake his head to say "no". For some months now he has known his shapes, colors and best of all he knows all 26 letters of the alphabet. But most importantly he is a sweet little boy with a wonderful spirit. He laughs a little more now, and it warms our hearts to see his adorable dimple when he is happy. I am proud of him, and grateful for what progress there has been. Yet I will always, always want more. I will always wonder about what he would be doing, the things he would be saying, and the life we would be leading if all had gone well.

The next year will undoubtedly bring us ups and downs, struggles, successes, and heartbreaks. Hopefully we'll be able to share pictures and stories, and keep you apprised of Oliver's progress and accomplishments more regularly this year. But for now, take a look at this handsome, happy two year old!

Birthday boy: Oliver turns two!


Susan, Mum to Molly said...

Oh Meghan... I hear you.

My heart hurts for you and I grieve with you, that this is your experience of motherhood. It is so not fair...

Please don't give up on those dreams though. I can clearly remember at Molly's first rehab review, when she had just turned one, setting our first physical goal: to sit by herself.

I then tried to get the Brain Injury Dr to put a timeframe on it, and she refused. I can remember thinking 6-12 months seemed like not too much to ask/hope for...

As you know, it took another 3 years - and there was quite some time when I thought it was out of reach.

Sometimes we just have to be hapy with positive progress of any kind, in any area. And hopefully have people around us who will celebrate these small milestones (inchstones?) with us.

We raised our glasses to you at 12.30 pm Sydney time, as we looked out over Iron Cove. You are doing an amazing job with and for your beautiful boy.

Dadu Thamma said...

We have to take just one step at a time and be happy for the day. Havent you smiled a little more today than this day last year and a lot more than the the year before? I am sure our precious Ollie's adorable smile will wipe all your tears and make you prouder of him every single day.
Happy Birthday OA...we love you, and always wish you and your wonderful parents the very best.

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